Wednesday, June 21, 2023

My 6.20.23 Meeting Summary

Last night the Council met to discuss several significant items:

- We conducted interviews for two open Planning Commissioner seats and appointed Bretten Casagrande and Joseph Banchero.  Congratulations to both and thank you to Ed Miller and Justin Cesarin for their service whose terms are ending at the end of the month. 

- We heard a presentation from the City of Concord regarding sewer rate increases.  Clayton utilizes a sewer system administered by Concord, and as a result of increased costs for maintenance and repair, the rates that Clayton residents pay will be increasing.  The Council approved the increase that was already approved at Concord in the amount of 6% per year over the next four years.  The actual amount of increase may vary depending on the needs and actual costs incurred.

- At our last meeting, we discussed the need to appropriate $125K from the City's Pension Rate Stabilization Fund in order to balance the budget.  Pension expense has increased significantly over the past few years and this fund was intended to act as a buffer to the budget when that occurred.  As we also removed $40K from the prior budget proposal, it was expected that that $125K would be reduced to $85K, however it appears that due to certain administrative oversights the actual figure was only reduced to $114K.  

There was discussion regarding whether a revenue assumption of $36K for increased fees related to the Master Fee schedule update should be included in our budget.  This budget is inclusive of assumptions made across multiple revenue and expense categories, including those relating to our Master Fee Schedule that we are set to update in the August timeframe.  It does not however, include any increase related to Special Events as that fee category is net new and we haven't finalized those parameters.  The vast majority of other fees that are being increased are commensurate with the fee schedule that already exists and as such an assumption of increases was appropriate.  Any increased revenue from Special Events fees will have a favorable impact to the budget.

Several of the Special District funds are either in deficit, or are consuming resources from other available funds, or both.  We will need to develop a strategy to address these as we stabilize operations within the City.

We approved the FY24 budget on a vote of 4-0-1 with Councilmember Tillman abstaining.

- We approved the FY24 Capital Improvement Plan and related CIP appropriations.  Some of the projects that were approved were related to ADA curb compliance, street paving, downtown raised pedestrian crosswalks, traffic signal upgrades, and other items.  Each of these are funded by a mix of city funds and grant revenues.

- We approved a new employment agreement with our Miscellaneous Employees, as well as separated the Police Chief's position from this agreement and formed a separate agreement for that role.  As part of the agreement with the Miscellaneous employees, we included a 5% COLA for FY24, and a 3-5% increase for FY25 based on CPI.  In addition, in recognition of much of the staffing vacancy this year, we included a retention incentive of 5% for those that remain employed over the next year.  In part as a result of the current year vacancies, the City experienced favorable results compared to budget and the Council decided to utilize some of that savings to recognize those employees who continued to perform the work required during a time of significant vacancy.